WEST PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth West senior Ryan Sissel has dreamed about playing in the highest ranks of football for as long as he can remember — he said amongst family, friends, teammates and coaches on Wednesday inside the PWHS library.
On Feb. 2, the three-time all-Ohioan Sissel announced via his Twitter account that he’d be joining the Marshall University football program in a preferred walk-on role — with the possibility of earning a scholarship down the line.
“Right now it’s a PWO with Marshall. But they said with everything right now, it’s subject to change in a couple of months or any time,” Sissel told The Portsmouth Daily Times on Wednesday. “Whenever they make a decision or I could be there the whole time.”
Upon enrolling at Marshall, Sissel is planning to pursue an education degree so that he can one day become a teacher.
Despite scholarship offers to play in Division II and other PWO offers from Division I programs, Sissel explained that his long connection with the school made an impact on the decision for where he’d be attending.
“I’ve always dreamed about playing at the biggest level possible. I’ve had other offers from Division II, PWO from Division I colleges. I’ve just always loved Marshall — been going to games there since I was eight years old,” he said.
During his senior season at West, Sissel had a dominant year from his running back and linebacker positions.
From the backfield, Sissel ran for 1,751 yards on 269 carries and 23 touchdowns in 13 games.
The year prior in his junior campaign, he ran for 1,518 yards and 11 touchdowns.
And on defense, where Sissel said his coaches at Marshall are planning to play him, he totaled 155 tackles (87 solo, 68 assisted) and 17 tackles for loss in 13 games his senior year.
“Right now they (Marshall) plan on having me play linebacker,” Sissel said. “But you never know with college sports, they could end up moving me.”
Sissel racked up the accolades as a Senator and helped bring home some hardware to The Rock last fall as well.
He was named an Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association first-team linebacker as a sophomore and a first-team running back the last two years.
Last fall, West won the program’s first Southern Ohio Conference Division II championship since 2008 with a 9-1 regular season record (11-2 overall) while averaging 34.6 points per game and holding opponents to a 12.1 points per game average.
“It’s moments of a lifetime,” Sissel said, of his time at West. “I’ve been dreaming about our time in high school since I was in the fourth grade. We made plans, me and the rest of the seniors, of what we wanted to accomplish. We all worked super hard to have the season we did and it’s a blessing to be able to experience it.”
In addition to his time with the West football program, Sissel is also a four-year member of the Senators boys basketball and track teams.
“They’ve all been super supportive of everything I’ve done,” he said, of his coaches. “They’ve been important to me in my life, along with everyone on the teams.”
Sissel said he’s planning to join the Thundering Herd football program after his high school graduation for summer workouts.
“I’m super excited, I’ve been dreaming about this moment since I was a little kid. I’m ready to get started.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved